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India has safely evacuated 22,500 citizens from war-torn Ukraine and assisted 18 other nations, says senior UN envoy


India’s chief envoy to the United Nations said the country had secured the safe return of 22,500 Indian citizens from war-torn Ukraine and assisted in the evacuation of nationals from 18 other countries. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador, TS Tirumurti, also expressed concern over the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine since the Russian attack on February 24.

Tirumurti was speaking at the UN Security Council briefing on the war in Ukraine on Thursday. India has started organizing special flights under “Operation Ganga” to bring back stranded Indian nationals, including students, from Ukraine.

The supreme envoy said there was an “urgent need” to meet the humanitarian needs of the affected population, as such action was guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. “India remains deeply concerned about the current situation, which has gradually deteriorated since the beginning of hostilities. The conflict has resulted in the death of civilians, the displacement of thousands of people inside the country and the exodus of more than three million refugees to neighboring countries. The humanitarian situation has deteriorated, especially in conflict areas,” he said.

Tirumurti further thanked the Ukrainian authorities and the country’s neighbors for facilitating the safe evacuation of Indian citizens. “We are deeply grateful for the facilitation rendered by the authorities of Ukraine and its neighboring countries to ensure their safe return,” he said.

Tirumurti also endorsed the Centre’s view on the need for an immediate ceasefire. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also stressed that there was no other choice but the path of dialogue and diplomacy. “We are ready to continue to engage on these objectives within the Security Council, as well as with the parties, in the days to come. We continue to stress the need to respect the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States,” he added.

Tirumurti also told the UNSC that India had sent more than 90 tons of supplies to Ukraine and its neighbors as part of humanitarian aid since March 1. These supplies included medicine and other essential relief items. “We are in the process of identifying more such needs and sending more supplies in the coming days,” he added.

The UNSC meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine was requested by the United States, Albania, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Norway.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 24 a “military operation” against Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “unprecedented” consequences. The war has entered its fourth week, creating a humanitarian crisis in which more than three million Ukrainians have fled their country, according to UN estimates.

(With PTI inputs)

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